Monday, June 25, 2007

The “X” In Office 2007

What’s with the “x”?

The file formats for Office 2007 will use XML and ZIP. The Office 2007 suite files will have default file extensions with “x” after their “old” file extensions—so, for example, .doc and .xls become .docx and .xlsx.

Why is XML used in Office?

Using XML, documents consisting of structured information as content will have some indication of what role that content will perform. XML-based file formats will aid in smooth data interoperation, data management and security, recovery of data, and, of course, reduced file sizes.

How are these different?

Office XML documents will be backwards-compatible with previous versions of the suite. Office XML file formats are ZIPcompressed as a ZIP container, which results in reduced file sizes and improved data recovery with corrupted files. Since the Office XML file formats are platformindependent, any non-Microsoft application such as XML-Broker can be used to process them.

Where does “m” fit into this?

Office 2007 documents saved in Office XML format will not contain any type of code or automation files, which can therefore never be unexpectedly executed. Documents containing VBA Projects, embedded OLE objects, and other binary files can be saved as macro-enabled files, as in .docm and .xlsm. The container package can be inspected for malicious code without even running an Office application.

Who will benefit?

Users, developers, IT professionals and organisations. The openness of Office XML formats aids in third-party application development, and in the creation of task-oriented documents—like reports, spreadsheets or forms with specifications, instructions, procedures or style guides.

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